This Cake Is For The Party by Sarah Selecky
Another collection of short stories from the 2010 Giller Prize shortlist, except that I wouldn’t call them “stories” so much as “writing exercises”. Each piece was more like a lovely little vignette or a small slice of life than a contained story. My main complaint is that I was disappointed these scenes weren’t part of something larger.
These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface. A woman who plans to conceive ends up in the arms of her husband”s best friend; a man who baby-sits a neglected four-year-old ends up questioning his own dysfunctional relationship; a chance encounter at a gala event causes a woman to remember when she volunteered for a nightmarish drug-testing clinic; another woman discovers that her best friend who is about to get married has just had an affair; a young teenager tries to escape from her controlling father and finds an unexpected lover on a bus ride home; a wife tries to overcome her dying mother-in-law’s resistance to her marriage by revealing to her own strange aural stigmata; a friend tries to talk another friend out of dating her cheating ex-boyfriend; and a superstitious candle-maker confesses to a tempestuous relationship that implodes spectacularly.